Rasmus' five hits power Blue Jays

Rasmus' five hits power Blue Jays

Rasmus' five hits power Blue Jays
CHICAGO -- Blue Jays manager John Farrell decided to make some drastic changes to his lineup prior to Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox and for at least one game, it reaped huge dividends.

The Blue Jays erupted for nine runs on 13 hits and a pair of home runs en route to this most productive night at the plate since May 18 against the Mets.

Colby Rasmus led the way with a career-high five hits -- including a two-run homer -- while Brett Lawrie added three of his own to give the Blue Jays a 9-5 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Those two guys at the top of the order give us a completely different look," Farrell said of Lawrie and Rasmus. "Their athleticism [and] both guys' abilities, they get pitches on the plate and they're capable of squaring some balls out. Just an outstanding performance on both [Colby] and Brett's part."

The lineup change was made to insert Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar into the heart of the club's order with the goal of driving in more runs. But it was the corresponding move of Lawrie and Rasmus going into the No. 1 and No. 2 spots respectively that stole the show.

The pair combined to record eight hits, seven runs, three RBIs and three extra-base hits in 10 plate appearances. They'll need to continue to produce if they want to stay at the top of the order, but Rasmus seems pretty comfortable in his new role.

"I'd love to have at-bats like that I did tonight every night," Rasmus said with a smile. "But, yeah, I like hitting in the two-hole. It's a good place to hit for me being the type of hitter that I am. It doesn't give you a lot of time to think. Game starts, you're in there hitting and the at-bats come real fast, not a lot of sitting around, which is good."

Toronto opened the scoring in the first inning thanks to an erratic performance on the mound by Philip Humber. Chicago's right-hander allowed a single to Rasmus and then proceeded to walk three of the next four batters to give the Blue Jays their first run.

Humber then settled down for a few innings before the Blue Jays' bats came to life in the fifth. Lawrie led off the frame with a single to set the table for Rasmus, who connected on a 1-2 pitch for his seventh home run.

David Cooper followed four batters later with a two-run shot of his own. Toronto's first baseman now has two homers in 10 games this season, and the shot to left came just hours after Farrell said he was surprised at how much power Cooper had displayed to the opposite field.

Humber finished the inning but did not come back out for the sixth. He was charged with five runs on seven hits while issuing five walks and striking out three. The disappointing outing for Humber came on the heels of a strong seven-inning performance against the Rays in which he allowed just two runs.

"You're going against a team that can hit and you're getting behind in hitters' count, giving them some good pitches to hit," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They're going to take advantage of it."

Toronto's offensive attack continued in the sixth against former Blue Jay Zach Stewart. The young right-hander got the first two outs of the inning but then surrendered four consecutive singles en route to an additional two runs. Jose Bautista and Johnson capped the inning with an RBI each to give the Blue Jays a commanding 7-1 lead.

Rasmus was responsible for the vast majority of the overall production. The 25-year-old finished 5-for-5 and became the first Blue Jays player to record five hits in a game since Corey Patterson accomplished the feat in a 14-inning affair against Chicago on May 28, 2011. Rasmus also scored four runs, which is the most by a Blue Jays player this year.

"I felt like in the early going I hit some balls hard and then I had a little stint there where I was struggling a little bit, which is going to happen," Rasmus said. "But I was able to change a little something. Moved up on the plate and made an adjustment, which I think comes with age, getting a little older and a little wiser and learning to make adjustments with the times and how pitchers are pitching me."

That type of production was more than enough run support for Blue Jays No. 1 starter Ricky Romero. Toronto's left-hander allowed one unearned run in the first after Rasmus dropped a fly ball in center field but then shut down the White Sox until the seventh.

Romero allowed three runs in that seventh with two coming on a home run by catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Romero came back out for the eighth but promptly served up a solo home run to Adam Dunn and was then removed from the game.

The 27-year-old Romero allowed five runs -- three earned -- on six hits while striking out four. He walked just one batter for the second consecutive start after issuing at least four in each of his previous four outings.

"That's the best I've felt pretty much all year," Romero said. "I had good stuff from the beginning all the way until the end. Obviously, sometimes, the results don't show, that's the way this game is and you just have to continue to work."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.